Holidays. It’s the one thing that all of us look forward to in our busy lives. Whether its a public holiday or a weekend getaway, planning for trips can sometimes be a tedious task. Accommodation tends to be a problem more often than not. But in recent times the process has become quite convenient. Online booking looks to be a popular option these days, and the trend only seems to be growing. So we decided to take a look at some of the options available to us local trip planners.
When you look up places online to accommodate your stay, booking.com is usually the first place you would look at. Why? Options. The site is well known to provide budget places at relatively cheap prices. Of course you could always book your favourite hotel via booking.com. But if you plan on heading out of the commercial areas, this would be your best bet to find a decent place at a very decent price.
As in most cases in the online world, bookings available on the site comes with user ratings. Personally, I’m not the one to be fixated on ratings much. But with Booking.com it’s always advisable to pay attention to the ratings and what reviewers have to say about the particular place. In the case of getting a place outside of Colombo, chances are you could easily book a decent room for 1 night at Rs.2000 – 3000 price range.
In case you’re wondering, this has no connection to the above entry. One thing you would notice here is that it appears to promote its top travel destinations and the many discount offers on hotel bookings. Additionally, the site also briefs on different tourist attractions and other places of interest available throughout the country. So, if you’re a visitor who’s stuck with planning your itinerary, this would no doubt help. 10 points for visually appealing content.
With regards to making reservations, the website offers options to pay online or pay by cash depending on where you made the reservation. The site offers from youth hostels and guest houses, to hotels and resorts. But options remain more or less the same, if not better to that of booking.com.Also, do be cautious when looking up bookings.lk. If you type booking.lk by mistake you’ll be redirected to Booking.com.
3. Yoho Bed
Yoho Bed is a new player in the local online booking market. Reservations made via Yoho Bed, are from what they call “premium budget hotels”. These would vary between hostels, guest houses, villas, hotels, apartments and bungalows. The rates are a tad bit on the expensive side. You could still probably catch a good spot for the usual Rs. 2,000 – 3,000 rate. But only if you get lucky though.
As of now, Yoho Bed primarily operates in the following areas.
- Mount Lavinia
- Nuwara Eliya
So chances are your options might be somewhat limited here. However Yoho Bed makes one promise to customers. Every room would feature, air conditioning, breakfast, free Wi-Fi, spotless linen, and most importantly, clean washrooms. Definitely not a bad bargain there.
Serving over 65,000 cities in over 190 countries all around the globe, Airbnb is the biggest player in the global market for room rentals. Even in Sri Lanka, Airbnb seems to be gaining popularity. As for the pricing, the rates are a bit on the cheaper side. But this can still vary from as low as Rs.1,500 to as high as Rs.70,000.
The booking process itself is pretty much the same as the previous options. But Airbnb does offer a few additional nitty gritties though. For instance, it lets you know whether a particular host is Airbnb verified. Never hurts to have that extra bit of sense of security when you’re booking online.
5. Vista Rooms
Similar to Yoho Bed, Vista Rooms also makes a promise to customers. Every room would by default include air conditioning, breakfast, free Wi-Fi, spotless linen and clean washrooms (TV is not guaranteed though). One unique feature you would find on the platform is that it tells you how far the hotel is with either a bus, train or air flight.
Apart from the usual booking process, Vista Rooms has a blog that covers things such as travel tips, smart travel hacks and the like. This may not be a massive factor when you actually want to book a place. Nevertheless, this would still add value to the prospective traveler, particularly if you’ve undecided on your itinerary. You can check out our review on Vista Rooms we did about an year back, here.
So Who’s The Best?
Well it’s hard to call out a clear winner exactly. Each of the above has its own advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on your requirements as well as preferences. For example, while bookings.lk doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app, all other options do. This could be quite a deal breaker for if you’re always used to being on the go.
But what about the rates? Surely one of the platforms would have an edge over the others? Again, depends on what you’re looking at. If your requirement is to find a decent place while making a trip, probably Booking.com would offer better budget options. On the other hand, if luxury is important then you might have a better chance at Yoho Bed.
Of course you might share a different opinion to those I’ve mentioned here. Perhaps you might have experienced something a little more different. So let us know your thoughts and comments. We’d love to hear them.